If Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge Reviews are accurate then “Hakuna Matata” won’t just be lyrics from a song for you anymore
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge is a luxurious African-themed resort located at the Walt Disney World Resort. It opened on April 16, 2001, and contains 1307 guest rooms. Later a separate area, Kidani Village, was built, which houses more than 300 villas. This deluxe resort is set apart from the rest of the magic of Disney World due to the savannas where animals are free to roam
The isolation of the Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge resort and gives guests the chance to see wildlife outside of their rooms or villas. There are 30 species of African wildlife for you to watch during your stay. Use the Wildlife Field Guide in your room and try to identify the animals. If you get them all right and there might be a surprise in store for you (there might not be also. It depends on how generous your parents are that day.)
What makes Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge unique?
- Guests staying at the Animal Kingdom Lodge & Villas can learn about the animals and ecosystems of Africa during programs that are led by Animal Specialists. Truly impress your friends by telling them that flamingos are not pink, their coloring is due to their diets which are rich in alpha and beta carotenoid pigments (this is true.)
- In-Room Celebrations – what better way to start your luxury vacation than with a treat delivered directly to your room. They cost extra, but there are many choices:
- Wanyama Safari – Guests can also go on the 90-minute Wanyama Safari and Dinner which allows for up-close animal encounters with food provided by Jiko before your adventure. The price is also fit for a King, or Queen, at $209 per guest over the age of ten. Reservations are required.
How expensive is it to stay at the Animal Kingdom Lodge?
Accommodations at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge are expensive, costing between $316.00 per night for a room with a standard view to the two-bedroom Suite with Club Level Access at $1,509 a night. However, there are rooms with different views and varying prices which you can see here. But, can you put a price on this outside scene outside of your window?
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge Review
The Animal Kingdom Lodge review is rated at 4.5-stars and is #37 out of 334 hotels and resorts in Orlando. It has also received the “Certificate of Excellence” from TripAdvisor.
Dining Options at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge has a wide variety of dining option that you can choose from – from the top of the line to the equivalent of fast-food at Disney World.
Here are the options available at the Animal Kingdom Lodge:
- Jiko – The Cooking Place – the top of the line restaurant is open only for dinner between 5:30 pm – 10:00 pm. Prices vary from $35-$48,99 per adult with some dining plans accepted. There is a dress code for this restaurant which you should look at before you go. Reservations are necessary, and they can be made up to 180 days before your stay;
Unique/Themed Dining includes three restaurants:
- Boma – Flavors of Africa – open for Breakfast from 7:30 am – 11:00 am and Dinner from 5:00 pm – 9:30 pm. The price varies from $15-$34.99 per adult to $35-$59.99 per adult, and the food is served in a buffet-style;
- Sanaa – open for Lunch from 11:30 am – 3:00 pm and Dinner from 5:00 pm – 9:30 pm. The price varies from $15-$34.99 per adult; and
- Jiko Wine Tasting – open only on Wednesdays for adults over 21. Reservations are imperative, and there is a dress code.
Quick-Service Restaurants include:
- The Mara – open daily from 6:00 am – 1:30 am. The price is $14.99 and under per adult;
- Maji Pool Bar – open daily from 11:00 am – 9:00 pm. The price is $14.99 and under per adult. Private dining is available along with a limited menu from the bar; and
- Uzima Springs Pool Bar – open daily from 11:00 am – 9:00 pm. The price is $14.99 and under per adult.
Basic Amenities at Animal Kingdom Lodge
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge is a resort that is full of things to do for people of all ages. In addition to the views, activities, animals, and the special events for both kids and adults, the resort has the basic amenities that you should expect, including:
- Disney Bus Transportation; Disney’s Magical Express; Complimentary Wi-Fi; Complimentary Standard Parking; On-Site ATM; and Locker Use at the pool;
- Valet Parking – available for an extra cost; however, those with a valid disability parking tag can utilize this service for free (don’t abuse it, that’s not nice);
- Online Check-in – as if you aren’t excited enough for your trip and stay at the Animal Kingdom Lodge, you can check-in 60 days in advance (you can’t stay there for the 60 days, only check-in from home);
- Laundry and Dry-Cleaning Services – 24-hour self-service laundry rooms are available, and when it’s finished, your phone will text you to let you know. Pick up the phone and call Housekeeping for Dry Cleaning and Valet Laundry service and it will be added to your bill;
- Resort Airline Check-in – you can get your boarding pass as well as check your luggage at the Animal Kingdom Lodge;
- Designated Smoking Areas – non-smokers don’t want to smell like smoke, so this makes perfect sense. However, since Walt himself was a smoker, it does put a smile on my face. And, if you need a smoke break while at the Animal Kingdom Lodge, just head on over to the Zahanati Massage and Fitness Center and enjoy your cigarette with a side of irony; and
- Mail Services – you can send pre-stamped postcards, letters, pre-packed, and pre-labeled packages at the Front Desk. Stamps are available for purchase at the Zawadi Marketplace.
Kids can enjoy the following activities:
- Two swimming pools –
- Uzima Springs Pool – this 11,000-square foot faces the Uzima Savannah, includes a 67-foot-long waterslide, and an entry point that is similar to a natural beach;
- Samawati Springs Pool – located close to the Kidani Villages, this pool is only a short walk away from the Animal Kingdom Resort. This 4,700 square-foot, zero-depth entry pool has a 128-foot waterslide and a nearby lounge and bar.
- Uwanja Camp – this is described as a water playground for kids of all ages. Observation Station is designed for children under the age of four and has both a mini-obstacle course as well as educational activities including unscrambling animal images. It is located so that parents could keep an eye on their children;
Departure Zone is for kids from five to seven years of age and includes a leaky water tower and hidden African Irises which squirt water at unsuspecting children.
Base Camp is for the older kids, ages eight and up, and is where they can shoot water cannons at each other.
- Simba’s Clubhouse – for children ages three to twelve it is located on the first floor of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge near the Uzima Pool Deck (it should be easy to find – just follow the Zebra trail). The Clubhouse is a kids-only area where kids can play with Arts & Crafts, toys, and new friends. During dinner time, kids can watch Disney movies, have some snacks, and even get some souvenirs from the time they spent there. Note: The price for Simba’s Clubhouse is $15/hour with a two-hour minimum.
- Hakuna Matata Playground – “no worries” at this 24-hour playground that overlooks both the savanna and the flamingo areal
- Pumbaa’s Fun and Games Arcade – located near The Mara café; and
- Movies Under the Stars – located in Uzima Pool, complimentary Disney movies are shown nightly for the whole family to enjoy.
Activities for Adults:
- Merchandise Delivery and Pick-up – after a long day of enjoying the different parks the last thing that you want to do is carry all of your souvenirs and merchandise that your kids just “had to have.” With Merchandise Delivery and Pick-Up, your items will be delivered to the Animal Kingdom Lodge and will be waiting for you at the Zawadi Marketplace;
- Resort Concierge – if there is anything better when staying at a hotel or resort than a concierge then I don’t know what it is. The Concierge can assist you with getting show, and/or dinner reservations, itinerary planning, and refreshments throughout the day. In addition, when staying at the Disney Animal Kingdom Lodge (or any of the Deluxe resorts at Disney World,) daily refreshments are offered throughout the day such as continental breakfast, evening wine and beer selections, and desserts and cordials;
- Spa and Fitness Package – the fitness equipment at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge “Zahatni Massage and Fitness Center” includes the typical treadmills, free weights, and bikes; however, they are the top-of-the-line “Life Fitness” and “Cybex” brands.
- Spa Services offered include Swedish Massages, Custom-Firm Pressure Massage, In-Room Swedish Massages, and Rejuvenating Citrus Facials.
- There is also a Sauna for your enjoyment.
The sweetest words you can say to a parent. Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge offers an array of childcare services:
- In-Room Babysitting – one-to-one babysitting in the comfort of your Resort room for children between six months and 12 years. The rates vary depending on the number of children and the time of day so be sure and check the website;
- In-Park Assistance – you can hire a “childcare specialist,” otherwise known as a nanny to go to the parks with you and your family; and
- Walt Disney World® Preschool Parents Guide – a list of and tips for having the vacation of your life with your children.
After researching Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, I must admit that I am highly impressed. Although the prices are high, I can understand why. It is not everyday – or every lifetime – that people get to have an experience like this. The food, amenities. and the overall Animal Kingdom Lodge reviews are all impressive. I guess it’s time to start saving money for a vacation with my almost 4-year-old.
Enjoy your trip!!